RELIGION

Police hunting for monk increase pressure on Thai temple

  • Buddhist monks of the Dhammakaya sect hold placards protesting an anticipated police raid outside the Dhammakaya sect temple in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, February 19, 2017. Police in Thailand who spent three days searching the vast Buddhist temple for a prominent monk accused of financial wrongdoing have kept up the pressure, sending fresh forces to confront devotees and monks at the compound's gates. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

    Buddhist monks of the Dhammakaya sect hold placards protesting an anticipated police raid outside the Dhammakaya sect temple in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, February 19, 2017. Police in Thailand who spent three days searching the vast Buddhist temple for a prominent monk accused of financial wrongdoing have kept up the pressure, sending fresh forces to confront devotees and monks at the compound's gates. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)  (The Associated Press)

  • Buddhist monks of the Dhammakaya sect sit anticipating police raid outside the Dhammakaya sect temple in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, February 19, 2017. Police in Thailand who spent three days searching the vast Buddhist temple for a prominent monk accused of financial wrongdoing have kept up the pressure, sending fresh forces to confront devotees and monks at the compound's gates. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

    Buddhist monks of the Dhammakaya sect sit anticipating police raid outside the Dhammakaya sect temple in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, February 19, 2017. Police in Thailand who spent three days searching the vast Buddhist temple for a prominent monk accused of financial wrongdoing have kept up the pressure, sending fresh forces to confront devotees and monks at the compound's gates. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thailand police personnel surrounded the Dhammakaya sect temple in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, February 19, 2017. Police in Thailand who spent three days searching the vast Buddhist temple for a prominent monk accused of financial wrongdoing have kept up the pressure, sending fresh forces to confront devotees and monks at the compound's gates. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

    Thailand police personnel surrounded the Dhammakaya sect temple in Pathum Thani, north of Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, February 19, 2017. Police in Thailand who spent three days searching the vast Buddhist temple for a prominent monk accused of financial wrongdoing have kept up the pressure, sending fresh forces to confront devotees and monks at the compound's gates. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)  (The Associated Press)

Police in Thailand who spent three days in an orderly but unsuccessful search of a vast Buddhist temple for a prominent monk accused of financial wrongdoing appear to be preparing to force their way in.

Around 3,000 police searched the Dhammakaya sect temple north of Bangkok from Thursday through Saturday, seeking its chief, Phra Dhammajayo, who is accused of accepting $40 million in embezzled money.

Both security forces and Dhammajayo's followers gathered in growing numbers at the temple Sunday after the Department of Special Investigation — Thailand's FBI — ordered all people not residing there to leave. Numbers on both sides were difficult to estimate.

The police are operating under an emergency order issued Thursday by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha allowing them to shortcut normal legal procedures in their operation.